Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
There are 573 federally recognized Indian Nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities and native villages) in the United States. The total American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) alone population: 2.9 million or about 0.9 percent of the US population. These communities struggle against a cycle of poverty perpetuated by high rates of unemployment, suicide, and high rates of gender, health, educational and energy inequity.
TWP is building resilient forests and communities by working hand-in-hand with people, local partners and alliances to find culturally relevant solutions for environmentally vulnerable populations. We are finding that climate vulnerable populations, those on the front lines of conservation, face many of the same equity issues as much in Central America as they do on Tribal Lands in North America. The issues run in parallel as these communities face daily challenges of drought, disease, flood, and lack of energy that perpetuate a cycle of inequity and poverty.
At Trees, Water & People we are actively working with Tribal populations to create access to solar energy which means a certain level of sovereignty for these tribes and potential employment. It is said that one cannot heal the land without healing the people. By facilitating Solar Workshops with reservation high school teachers and students we are able to also create a positive space to address social-emotional-behavioral health issues that might limit the youths of the Tribal lands ability to succeed.
We also support energy equity through the use and installation of solar suitcases, energy panels, and heaters on the Pine Ridge Reservation where we co-founded the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Over the last few decades, many countries in the developing world have lost more than half of their once lush native forests. A major contributor to this deforestation is the high demand for fuelwood for household cooking, and by biomass-dependent industries including brick production, roof and floor tile production, clay handicrafts, and mineral lime conversion. Tropical deforestation for fuelwood is a significant contributor to global climate change, threatens the irreplaceable biodiversity found in tropical forests, and can lead to catastrophic long-term effects on soil, water resources, and rural productive capacity.
Our approach to reforestation involves more than just protecting forests and planting trees: We have created successful community-led reforestation projects in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and on U.S. Tribal Lands that utilize local people and resources to sustainably manage forests.
TWP supports 20 community tree nurseries in Central America that produce over 350,000 trees annually. These nurseries allow local hands to produce tens of thousands of native tree seedlings and plant them in deforested areas, on local farms, and around homes. Planting trees on agricultural land helps farmers diversify their crops, reduce erosion, and improve soil quality. These projects not only help to protect native forests and watersheds, but improve people's lives by protecting their health and raising their standard of living.
We also work closely with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and communities in extremely low-income, rural areas to provide guidance on how to plant, maintain, and prune hardwood trees and graft valuable fruit trees. Through educational workshops, we help shape the next generation of environmental stewards.
Since 1998, Trees, Water & People has produced and planted more than 5.65 million fruit, nut, coffee, and hardwood trees throughout Central America and Haiti. These trees provide a variety of benefits including: improved family nutrition, reduced soil erosion, increased crop diversity, enhanced carbon sequestration, preservation of local biodiversity, protected wildlife habitat, and a sustainable source of fuelwood for daily cooking.
In Nicaragua with PROLEÑA, we have established three successful Forest Replacement Associations (FRAs) across the Pacific coast of the country to halt deforestation by creating public-private partnerships that aim to prevent the cutting of native forests by encouraging sustainable production of fuelwood in biomass energy plantations. By joining an FRA, local businesses agree to pay a fee in accordance with the amount of biomass they harvest and use locally, which contributes to the operating budget of the FRA nurseries. Seedlings produced with these funds are then sold at reduced price to local farmers, who harvest the trees within 3-5 years and sell them back as fuelwood to industry consumers. To date, our successful FRAs have produced over 3.3 million trees.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Trees, Water & People (TWP) partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Haiti to produce and distribute affordable and culturally-appropriate clean cookstoves for rural and peri-urban communities. Our cookstoves are cleaner, healthier, safer, cost-effective, more reliable, and better for the environment than traditional open-fire stoves. The models with chimneys remove toxic smoke from kitchens, immediately improving the health of families by decreasing deadly Indoor Air Pollution (IAP). By reducing the amount of wood required, our cookstoves enable families to use the time and money formerly spent on securing household energy to meet their basic needs and invest in their future through food, healthcare, education, or micro-entrepreneurship. Harmful carbon emissions are reduced, helping to combat global climate change which has a disproportionate effect on such disadvantaged communities. In addition, the local economies benefit from the use of locally available materials and labor, creating desperately needed jobs as cookstove builders and promoters.
Trees, Water & People's clean cookstove program began in Honduras in 1998 and has been successfully replicated primarily in rural poor communities throughout Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Haiti, and introduced into Uganda.
Colleagues have already adopted TWP's fuel-efficient cookstove technology for introduction into new communities. HELPS International adapted our original Justa cookstove design in Honduras for rural Mayan families living in the highlands of Guatemala, and is now producing the cookstoves in both Guatemala and Mexico. Winrock International modified our Justa cookstove for use in Peru. Similarly, TWP's EcoStove has been adapted to cooking in Brazil and Bolivia, and versions of our Rocket stove have been introduced into numerous African countries. In addition, hundreds of technicians have been trained by our NGO partner, AHDESA, over the past 13 years.
To date, TWP and our NGO partners have built and distributed more than 63,400 clean cookstoves throughout Central America and Haiti, directly improving the health and financial stability of over 317,000 people.
In 2005, TWP and AHDESA won the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy for our innovative cookstove project in Honduras and our NGO partner, PROLENA, won 2nd place in 2004. The Ashden Awards led to carbon offset funding via Climate Care for our cookstoves. Our commercial approach to development earned TWP the USD$1 million Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability in 2008 and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) USD$100,000 Sasakawa Prize for 2009-10. Additionally, TWP Co-Founder and International Director, Stuart Conway, was presented with the 2010 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).